Tuesday, January 2, 2007

SIKH PRIESTS FACE SEX CHARGES; TEMPLE IN UPROAR

WINNIPEG: Members of a small Sikh temple are dismayed after charges of sexual misconduct were laid by police against three of its priests. "Everybody's shocked... this was the last thing that would have ever popped into my mind," said one member of Gurdwara Nanaksar, located on St. David Road in St. Vital. "There's a massive uproar - sex is not talked about... it's a very taboo topic," he said. Gurdwara Nanaksar is one of only 17 temples of its kind worldwide - it is affiliated with a specific Sikh sect, Nanaksar Satsang Sabha.
Priests at the temple are expected to be celibate, and from as young as age eight lead a monastic life of meditation and prayer, the member said. "(The priests) are raised in the temples - they don't have a choice in whether they are celibate or not," he said. According to the member, the priests in question are believed to still be conducting religious ceremonies at the temple, but in a limited capacity preventing them from having contact with minors. Others in the Sikh community worried about the scars the charges may leave on the reputation of the nearly 15,000 Sikhs in Winnipeg.
"This is very bad... any allegations of this kind reflect bad on the community as a whole," said Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who worships at Singh Sabha, a mainstream Sikh temple on Sturgeon Rd. Describing Winnipeg's small sect, consisting of fewer than 300 members, as "not for the general public, but run for certain people," Singh Dhillon referred to the priests as "temporary - they are recalled (to Punjab) every three or four years." Paramajit Gill said it's the first kind of incident he's heard involving members of his community, and hoped for a full inquiry into the allegations. "The Sikh people will not tolerate any incidents like this in our religion," he said.
Winnipeg police said the priests were arrested last weekend and were released on a promise to appear in court. Sgt. Kelly Dennison added the charges are linked to an alleged kidnapping occurring earlier this month. The Free Press previously reported that on Dec. 14, a man armed with a sword and another man armed with a tire iron allegedly kidnapped two priests from the temple. The men drove them to a residence in the Waverley area where they allegedly physically assaulted the priests. Jeewan Jyot Kahlon, 24, and Amandeep Singh Chana, 25, both face charges of kidnapping, forcible confinement, assault with a weapon and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
At the time, police said a "personal dispute" was behind the incident and the victims knew their attackers. "It's one big sordid soap opera," Dennison said Saturday, noting police would not elaborate on the case. "This is historical. It goes back over time." The temple is one of three of its kind in Canada -- the others are in Brampton, Ont., and Surrey, B.C. Winnipeg's Gurdwara Nanaksar began in 1982.

51 comments:

satpal singh said...

whats up with priests nowadays. it is very disturbing to know that priests - men of god - are upto things that an average man wont even think of. i always thought gurudwaras were way better than any other religious instituitions when it came to assaulting kids by priests. if such things continue to happen then people will soon loose faith in gurudwaras and stop going to gurudwaras.

Paul said...

Aman and Jeevan are Hero's...

They will have saved many kids from abuse with their noble actions.

larry said...

hey i kind of agree with paul. he is right. i am very happy that our community members can distinguish who is wrong and who is right. gung ho paul. pooja why dont you add more to your profile... just a suggestion.

Anonymous said...

details are now out about the exact charges these guys face
http://www.winnipegsun.com/News/Winnipeg/2007/01/05/3175445-sun.html

Anonymous said...

If guilty, the priests deserve a harsh sentence and nothing less. However, the matter should have been brought up with police rather than kidnapping the molesters. In the end, the court can't help but rule against vigilantes, which only hurts the kinappers. Not to mention that any confessions made under duress are not going to hold up in court.

Anonymous said...

Jeewan And Aman are hereos indeed....this is a situation everyone looks at and thinks how can it ever happen...how can people that live in gods home do such evil...but the truth is it happens just because the giannis live in the gurdwara does not mean that they all have positive mentality..they have essentially ruined lives...how many who knows...and until light is brought upon the situation for them they are getting away with their filth... this needed to be stopped...and its soo important for parents to talk to their kids about situations like these...and not have them hushed about because the more knowledge on incidents like these will lead to more cautious steps and even some prevention..and now that it has been brought out...we need to come together as a community and do the right thing not give a damn about what people are going to think..the right thing is to get justice...and think for a moment how we would feel if that happened to our loved ones....I think the giannis will never pay for the lives they ruined but putting them behind bars is where they belong not in Wahegurus home.....

Anonymous said...

Years of molestation by Sikh priests alleged

By PAUL TURENNE, POLICE REPORTER




A Winnipeg man whose complaints about sexual misconduct led to the arrest of three Sikh priests last month was allegedly molested for more than five years, between the ages of eight and 14.

As first reported in the Sun last week, three priests from the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple in St. Vital were arrested Dec. 23 amid allegations of inappropriate sexual conduct.

Police were initially tight-lipped about the details, but cops revealed yesterday all three priests -- men aged 37, 43, and 47 -- are facing charges of sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. The 37- and 43-year-old men are each facing an additional charge of anal intercourse.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. Sheldon Pinx, the lawyer representing all three men, said last week that his clients maintain their innocence and deny all charges.

Const. Jacquie Chaput, a police spokeswoman, said yesterday the alleged abuses are said to have taken place between June 1990 and January 1996.


Police are only aware of one alleged victim, but Chaput said investigators would speak with additional complainants if any came forward.

She also said additional arrests may be pending. Police have previously said a fourth suspect was believed to be in Vancouver.

The charges of sexual assault, sexual interference, invitation to sexual touching and anal intercourse all carry maximum sentences of 10 years in prison upon conviction. Sexual exploitation -- defined as sexual touching or invitation by a person "in a position of trust or authority" -- carries a maximum five-year sentence.

The priests have been released from custody on promises to appear in court, which they are scheduled to do next month.

Their arrests have sparked shock among the Sikh community in Winnipeg and beyond. Some Sikhs have identified the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple as a member of a sect outside mainstream Sikhism. The temple is one of only 17 in the world affiliated with the Nanaksar Satsang Sabha organization.

Anonymous said...

Three priests face sex charges

By PAUL TURENNE, POLICE REPORTER




Winnipeg police formally laid charges yesterday against three Sikh priests arrested last month amid allegations of sexual abuse, and were therefore able to release their names publicly.

Bakhshish Singh, 47, Kuljit Singh, 43, and Dalbag Singh, 37 -- all priests at the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple in St. Vital -- have been charged with sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching, sexual interference and sexual exploitation. Kuljit and Dalbag Singh are each additionally charged with anal intercourse.

The priests are alleged to have abused a Winnipeg man when he was a boy at the temple over a period of more than five years, from June 1990 to January 1996.

None of the allegations has been proven in court. Sheldon Pinx, the lawyer representing all three men, said last month that his clients maintain their innocence and deny all charges.

The priests were first arrested Dec. 23 and are set to appear in court next month. A police spokeswoman said yesterday that more arrests are pending in relation to the case.


The allegations have sparked shock among the Sikh community in Winnipeg and beyond. Some Sikhs have identified the Gurdwara Nanaksar temple as that of a sect outside mainstream Sikhism. The temple is one of only 17 in the world affiliated with the Nanaksar Satsang Sabha organization.

Anonymous said...

Update on this story..All charges against Jeevan and Amandeep were stayed/dropped in at a recent court date due to the complexity of the situation. The three pedophile priest are scheduled to be in court for a preliminary hearing at the end of this month July 2008.

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